Tag Archives: United States

No Stars!

I went to the ANA World’s Fair Of Money in Chicago, and managed to turn up both of the Seated Liberty No Stars coins, the half dime and the dime.

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Chicago ANA, 2014

I spent the last week in Chicago at the ANA’s World’s Fair of Money.  It was a show full of controversy, difficult hunts for coins, but it had its rewards as well.

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1800 Half Dime

This one has been a long time coming; it has been on layaway for months.

Early half dimes were struck on very thin planchets, and as a result most have been bent.  The almost inevitable half-joking comment was that if you sneezed on them they’d fold in half.  Bent coins don’t get encapsulated.  So the mere fact that this is not bent, and has been encapsulated makes it an unusual specimen!

One thing these photographs don’t convey is that this coin still has some luster to it, under dark yellow toning in the fields.  Justice has not been done here.

1800 half dime obverse - small

1800 half dime reverse-small

Capped Bust Dime

I recently purchased this 1811/09 Capped Bust dime for my type set; it lets me check off the open collar subtype for this denomination.  Of course this is not really an ideal type coin (though it is a good coin), it’s much too expensive a date for that.

When I started putting together the set, I made a surprising discovery.  These earlier types (draped bust and capped bust) in many ways reminded my of my time in Russian Imperial numismatics.  And that’s because back then minting was  still bleeding edge technology.  It was difficult to make two coins identical, because of everything from uneven and laminated planchets, to dies that weren’t identical, either because full hubbing wasn’t in use yet or because dies got used even after they cracked or got worn.  That plus the fact that most specimens from nearly two centuries ago are long gone, means no two coins in today’s marketplace are alike, even after you account for condition. I could look at two rubles from the same year and they were very individual, just as I can do with the US coinage from the same time.  It adds to the challenge of the hunt.